Friday, October 24, 2014

You are not meant to sleep in

Try to sleep in on your day off and you will wake up with a dog on your head.

I had gotten up earlier to feed them and let them outside, and then went back to lie down.

A few hours passed. They got restless. They were confused. What is this atypical behavior she’s doing? They were bored. So one sat on my head.

This is what they are meant to do. Get me out of bed. Get me out for a walk. I had gotten my first dog in my early twenties, ignoring the advice of a pragmatic friend: Don’t get a dog when depressed. Well, the depression wasn’t going anywhere—it was prolonged, tacky-sticky to my heart and heavy. I got a dog.

I went to the pound twice. The first time, a long haired black and white 50 pound boy dog almost came home with me but then I panicked, left. I went back. There were three I wanted: the tiny foxy-like one, the one with blue eyes scared out of her mind, head in a corner, and this mellow yellow young fellow. I took home the latter, but my heart still hurts 20 years later leaving the terrified one there.

I named my new blond guy Ouzel, after the water dipper bird I saw swimming in the winter streams of Montana. I was strawberry blond, he was strawberry blond. He was a young adult, I was almost an adult. He was quiet, I was quiet. He tensed getting into the cab of my truck and then stared out the window at the airplane landing at the nearby airport. 

Always handsome, always eliciting a swoon, Ouzel.

He was my companion in Pennsylvania, in grad school, my first time moving alone somewhere, at 24. He helped me with my move to Wisconsin, another time really knowing no one, but getting me out each Sunday to a new state park. On the frozen Devil’s Lake, he scuttled between each snow island, across the ice, wind blowing ferocious through the hills.

And so. Each dog I have lived with: Ouzel, Fiona, Taiko, Gracie, Wren, Murray, George, Atticus, Tiny Dog—each has been my guide, my light on the trail, urging me forward, out under the trees, sky and birds.

Fiona, top, with lovely friend, Circe.

Dashing Murray, never without a toy.

Gracie making noise with Taiko.

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